Venues & Events expands

Square Meal's Venues & Events show returned to Old Billingsgate last month, expanding across all four floors of the venue. For the first time it used the venue's underground vaults to house 20 exhibitors alongside an expanded dining area catered for by Office Diner.

The two-day show, which took place from 19-20 September, attracted 225 exhibitors - about 30 more than last year's three-storey event.

Graham Hill, head of Venues & Events, said initial feedback and attendance figures were positive. "We're creating a convivial environment for business to happen," he said. "Our biggest challenge this year was to get visitors across all four levels."

The team also built on a number of the initiatives introduced last year. Visitors were once again treated to a free meal at the Office Diner cafe, and the complimentary car service, courtesy of Addison Lee, utilised around 300 cars - more than three times the number used last year.

The 2008 show is set to return to Billingsgate and is expected to maintain a similar format. "Fundamentally we've got it where we want it to be. We just need to keep it fresh," said Hill.

The mood among many of the exhibitors was positive. Ceri Davies, sales manager at the Oval Conference Centre said: "We returned this year with a bigger, re-designed stand. The number of visitors was steady and we've been speaking to people who regularly book events. For us it's been about raising our profile for non-cricket events as well as match-day hospitality."

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